Adnexa Uteri: Definition & Functions

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has taught high school and college biology and has a master's degree in cancer biology.

This lesson is going to give you a working definition of adnexa uteri and the parts that make up the adnexa uteri. We will also discuss the various functions of these parts and what they do in the body.

What is the Adnexa Uteri?

Our bodies are designed in a manner that allows us to carry out different functions. Think about how useful your arms and hands are. You're able to pick things up, and your whole body functions better because your arms are attached to your trunk. They are actually known as appendages to the trunk of your body.

The uterus has appendages known as the adnexa uteri
Diagram of the uterus

This same design is used inside of the body as well. The female uterus has appendages attached to it in order to help it function. The appendages to the uterus are collectively known as the adnexa uteri. There are a few structures that make up the adnexa uteri. These include the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and ligaments. Let's look at each one and their functions.

Functions of Adnexa Uteri

Ovaries are part of the adnexa uteri
Close up diagram of the ovary

The most active parts of the adnexa uteri are the ovaries. The ovaries are female reproductive organs and glands. The ovaries have the two very important roles of producing ova or eggs and secreting estrogen and progesterone. The ova are needed for passing on genetic information through the process of reproduction. Estrogen and progesterone are very important in the development of female sex characteristics such as breast development and widening of the hips in preparation for childbearing.

The fallopian tubes are the passageway for ova and site of fertilization
Diagram of fertilization in the fallopian tubes

The fallopian tubes are the hollow tubes that extend from the uterus to the ovaries. They function as the passageway for ova from the ovaries to the uterus. Fallopian tubes are also the site of fertilization. The early stages of zygote development take place in the fallopian tubes.

The last parts of the adnexa uteri are the ligaments. Ligaments are bands of tissue that attach muscles. There are three types of ligaments in the adnexa uteri. One is the round ligaments, which are the fibrous bands that attach to the uterus and go through the opening into the inguinal region to the thicker folds of the external female genitalia. The round ligaments function to hold the uterus in the correct position during pregnancy.

The second set of ligaments are the broad ligaments, which are the wide bands of tissue that attach the uterus and the pelvic wall. They function to anchor the uterus in the pelvic cavity by attaching it to the pelvic wall.

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